Giddens says he and his staff always take time to explain the work they’re recommending so every customer feels confident in their purchase.
“You’ve got to be honest and explain everything to every customer,” he says. “I don’t make a sale without letting them know what’s going on.”
A Well-Run Business
With a handful of employees, Giddens stays busy with a mix of tire work and underhood maintenance.
The shop carries popular brands, such as Michelin, BFGoodrich, Continental and General. On the maintenance side, Giddens Tire Pros does standard oil and filter changes, brakes and alignments. It also services many air conditioners and frequently changes wiper blades due to the Arizona heat.
Giddens admits that tire sales have fallen over the years; one of his biggest challenges is price competition.
“My challenge is, these stores, they get desperate and they start cutting prices,” he explains. “I mean, we compete with the big boys every day.”
Casa Grande sits 30 miles outside of Phoenix and has an array of big box chains and other independent dealers from which customers can choose. Fortunately, Giddens says many of his customers prefer to support small busi- ness and enjoy the personalized service his shop offers.
Giddens also has a strong support network through the Tire Pros family.
“Tire Pros is probably the premier ‘franchise,’ but it’s unlike any ‘franchise’ that’s out there because they’re not dictating policy,” Giddens says. “I was on the National Dealer Council for five years and it’s amazing how 10-12 independent dealers with diversified people all have input and lead the direction of our group.”
He says the up-and-coming store owners and managers throughout the western region also inspire him.
“I love the young blood that comes into our Tire Pros dealer group, to sit with the young men that come out of Idaho and Utah and Colorado,” Giddens says. “I’m looking at these guys, who are about my son’s age, and I’m thinking these are the ‘kids’ that are the future of our industry. They’re young and they’re bright and they understand what they need to do to grow.”
Giddens’ son, Brandon, also works at the store and is among the up-and-comers in the industry.
Getting the Word Out
When it comes to marketing, Giddens says he uses good, old-fashioned local newspaper ads and also utilizes a Tire Pros TV deal with Fox Sports.
“We have 23 [Tire Pros] members in Arizona and we all did a deal with Fox Sports,” he explains. “We get on with the (Arizona)Diamondbacks, we get on with the soccer and hockey programs as well as college football, college baseball, anything on Fox sports. They rotate our 30-second commercials around.”
He also uses mailers to track customer retention and sends “thank you” cards to new customers to show his appreciation.
The Giddens name also is present throughout the Casa Grande community through charitable contributions and sponsorships.
As an active member of the local Rotary, Giddens has helped raise money for the club’s scholarship program for local high school graduates, as well as funds for the local Boys & Girls Club. Giddens also supports the local Future Farmers of America by donating a set of tires for a raffle at the club’s annual steak fry.
Giddens is passionate about his local community and credits the residents for much of his business success. Despite the challenges and changes to the business climate, Giddens Tire Pros has been able to thrive because of loyal customers.
“Our community has been very good to us,” Giddens says.